Applied Research Programs

International Diabetes Collaboration

Photo of Julia Lowe

Program Leader: Dr. Julia Lowe

Three quarters of people with diabetes are now living in low-and middle-income countries. In the next 20 years, Africa, the Middle East, and South- East Asia will shoulder the greatest increase in diabetes prevalence. The University of Toronto, in conjunction with Canadian Association of General Surgeons and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has developed a sustainable, integrated, multi-level Diabetes Education, Training, and Capacity Building model to tangibly impact the lives of those living with diabetes internationally.

The Guyana Diabetic Foot Project has already resulted in a 50% reduction in diabetes related major amputations. The project uses proven U of T educational resources such as the International Interprofessional Wound Care Course to train Guyanese key opinion leaders. In partnership with the BBDC, the Global Diabetes Collaboration Initiative plans to attract funding in order to expand these programs into the Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Indian subcontinent and in addition to bring effective strategies back to our own disadvantaged populations in Ontario and in Canada.


Group Members

Julia Lowe (Program Leader)
Brian Ostrow
Gary Sibbald
Nashwah Taha

Program Activities

  • In 2015, the World Diabetes Foundation approved funding of $303,821 USD towards a three year Guyana Diabetes Care Project. The project, led by Drs. Julia Lowe and Brian Ostrow in Toronto and the Ministry of Health in Guyana, will: develop the capacity to diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy in Guyana; introduce a protocol for the management of diabetes in pregnancy; train health professionals to educate the adult population in health promotion and diabetes prevention; and build research infrastructure in the Ministry of Health. In the first six months of the project, equipment to diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy has been purchased and a protocol for the diagnosis and management of diabetes in pregnancy has been agreed upon and training given to 11 doctors and 20 nurses. The Ministry of Public Health has agreed to incorporate the Indian Diabetes Risk Scorevalidation into their country-wide, Ministry-funded, WHO STEPS non-communicable disease risk factor survey greatly enhancing its utility.

    View the World Diabetes Foundation Project Page

  • Dr. Lowe and her colleagues also received a $90,000  Sun Life Financial Impact Challenge Grant for their 2-year Guyana and Ethiopia Diabetes Project which will expand on their work in Guyana and will bring their previously successful model to Ethiopia. To date,  two staff from Black Lion Hospital in Ethiopia have completed the International Interprofessional Wound Care Course, equipment has been purchased, and renovations completed to establish a Diabetic Foot Centre of Excellence in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Published Papers

In the News

GPHC to launch Retinopathy Programme for diabetics

Strategic care project launched to manage diabetes

BBDC Guyana Diabetes Care Project Receives Funding from the World Diabetes Foundation

Guyana Diabetes and Footcare Project Wins Journal of Wound Care Award

Learn more about the BBDC Guyana Diabetes and Footcare Project by watching our video: